Kenyatta Smith standing tall for Harvard
Former News-Press Athlete of the Year putting up big numbers for Crimson; trio doing well on diamond.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Former Flintridge Prep basketball star Kenyatta Smith is now a standout sophomore at Harvard. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
Kenyatta Smith (Flintridge Prep, 2011) Harvard basketball sophomore: Smith was arguably the most monumental presence in Flintridge Prep basketball lore, leading the Rebels to the program’s only CIF championship in 2011.
He’s now looming large inside for the Crimson, leading the team with two blocks a game, which is second in the Ivy League.
On Feb. 18, he was named the Ivy League Player of the Week. It came on the heels of victories against Penn and Princeton in which he averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and an astounding eight blocks a game.
Against Penn, Smith had a Harvard single-game record with 10 blocks, while also shooting eight of nine from the field with a career-high 20 points. He had nine rebounds, just missing a triple-double. He followed that up against Princeton in which he was perfect offensively, shooting five for five from the field and four for four from the line for 14 points to go with seven rebounds and six blocks.
For the season, the center is averaging 5.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and two blocks a game. He’s played in 22 of his team’s 24 games, starting nine and averaging 13 minutes.
Harvard is 17-7 and 9-1 in league with an Ivy League matchup at Princeton on Friday. Harvard is riding a three-game winning streaking, including a win Saturday over archrival Yale, 72-66, in which Smith had four points, four rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes.
Jason Ochart (Hoover, 2008) Vanguard baseball senior: Vanguard fell in Golden State Athletic Conference play on Monday, but the former Tornadoes All-Pacific Leaguer continued his torrid start.
The Lions leadoff hitter went two for five with a run scored and a run batted in during Monday’s 6-3 loss to host San Diego Christian.
Ochart, a third baseman, has started all 16 of his team’s games and is batting .327 (18 for 55). He’s tied for the team lead with nine runs, has a team-high six doubles and also leads the Lions with nine RBI, 27 total bases, a .491 slugging percentage, nine walks and 10 stolen bases.
It’s been a stellar start for Ochart, who’s helped Vanguard to an 8-8 overall record and a 3-8 conference mark. The Lions travel to face Biola University on Friday to begin a three-game conference series.
Ochart, who starred at Glendale Community College after his days at Hoover, isn’t the only local at Vanguard, nor the only local faring well.
Ellis Whitman, a former Vaquero and Glendale Angeleno, also had two hits against San Diego Christian and leads the Lions with 20 hits, coming in 16 starts and 55 at-bats for a .364 average. He also has six runs, four doubles, three RBI and a 1.000 fielding percentage at first base. Another former GCC player, John Schwer, has started and played in 15 games and is hitting .180 with seven runs and six walks.
Elliot Surrey (Crescenta Valley, 2012) UC Irvine baseball freshman: The four-year varsity starter and multiple-time All-Area honoree has been productive in three appearances on the bump thus far in his collegiate career.
Surrey has thrown 5 1/3 innings over three appearances and boasts a 1.69 earned-run average. He’s allowed just one run, while striking out five to three hits and two walks. Teams are hitting .188 against him.
UC Irvine, which was 6-1 headed into its game Tuesday with Loyola Marymount, got its biggest contribution from Surrey on Saturday against California in a 4-3 win. The left-hander tossed 3 1/3 innings in relief, giving up one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out four.
Kyle Murray (Crescenta Valley, 2012) Cal State Fullerton baseball freshman: After a bit of an auspicious collegiate debut, Murray, a two-time All-Area first-team honoree, bounced back in good form on Wednesday.
Murray came on in the fourth inning of a 6-3 Fullerton win over Pepperdine and pitched 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball. He allowed two hits and a walk, but struck out three. He has three strikeouts in two appearances, encompassing three innings of work. His earned-run average stands at 9.00, as he’s given up two runs.
Fullerton, ranked No. 20 in NCAA Division I, is off to a perfect start as it takes a into a 7-0 record into a three-game home series against Oregon, beginning on Friday.